If you’ve kept up with music news well enough over the past few years, you’ve probably heard about Kesha’s legal woes, fighting a legal battle against her producer and alleged rapist Dr. Luke and looking to be released from her contract with him. This, in addition to the “TiK ToK” singer’s time spent in rehab, has contributed to a five-year lack of albums from her following her 2012 release Warrior. Last week, however, Kesha dropped her new single “Praying” along with news of her upcoming third studio album Rainbow, to be released on August 11th, bringing her name back into the musical limelight once more.
Of course, anyone expecting the same Kesha five years later would be mistaken, and “Praying” has quickly proven that the artist is bringing something different to the table. Rather than the synth-driven, beat-laden party jams for which she’s come to be known, “Praying” is a reclamatory piano anthem that is thoroughly appropriate given her struggles in recent years. Rather than sheer spite or anger, it’s fueled by self-empowerment, a heavy drumbeat kicking in in the last third of the song to accompany climbing vocals that are poignantly projected. If you still thought there was nothing more to Kesha than simplified pop and autotune, you’ll be singing a different tune after hearing the bare emotion and courage that her new single bears.
Early reviews have remarked that the upcoming 14-track album is a mix of styles, containing Keshas old and new, so the pop singer surely isn’t through with her dance floor anthems. But regardless of its precise style, Rainbow sounds like it should be an album to keep your eye out for; we’ll find out for sure what it has in store for us next month. In the meantime, make sure you prepare yourself by listening to “Praying.”